ARLINGTON, Texas (2/16/19) – Jireh Washington and Akasha Westbrook scored 14 points each but it was not enough as the Red Wolves nearly pulled off a comeback attempt in a 67-62 loss at the College Park Center Saturday afternoon.
The pair also led the team with eight rebounds each, while Peyton Martin also finished in double-digits with 10 points and six rebounds. The Red Wolves finished with a 42-34 edge on the boards while shooting 40 percent from the field.
A-State (9-15, 4-9) trailed by 13 at the start of the fourth quarter but went on a 14-2 run to close the gap to 61-58 with 3:28 to go in the game after a pair of free throws by Washington. UTA (19-6, 11-3) pushed the lead back to five on a layup by Katie Ferrell, but Washington answered with a fast-break layup with 1:32 remaining.
Morgan Wallace then forced Cierra Johnson into turnovers and raced the length of the court and was fouled on her shot attempt with 44 seconds left on the clock. The sophomore made both free throws to get within 63-62, but the Mavericks were able to answer when Lauren Billie knocked down a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put her team up by four with 19 seconds left on the clock.
The Red Wolves’ got off a 3-point attempt on the following possession and UTA controlled the rebound and knocked down a free throw to put the game out of reach for the Red Wolves.
“There are a lot of positives that you can take from this outside the final score,” A-State head Brian Boyer said. “Defensively our goal was to hold them in the 60s because we felt like that would give us the best chance and our kid’s battled start from to finish. We did a great job of rebounding the basketball and the only real negative was that we struggled to score in the first half but we got that corrected at halftime and overall just a performance that we were pleased with.”
Arkansas State trailed 35-25 at the break, but went to work on the offensive end and worked the score down to 40-34 midway through the third quarter thanks to a 50-plus percent shooting percentage.
The Mavericks went on a 7-0 run the end the first quarter after both Peyton Martin and Akasha Westbrook were forced to sit with early foul trouble. The advantage grew to 33-19 with 3:52 to go in the half, but Lycia Peevy drained a 3-pointer and then hit a pair of free throws to get the deficit to single digits.
“We feel a lot better about the way we are playing right now and today it wasn’t so much about the play, but really more about their attention to detail and doing the things we asked them to do on a short turnaround from Thursday and I thought they handled it really well.”
Arkansas State will return to the court Saturday, Feb. 23 when it hosts Little Rock at First National Bank Arena. Tip-off is set for Noon.